Tag Archives: Worship

“The people of Jesus Christ have great cause to glory in their Savior” by Jonathan Edwards

“The people of Jesus Christ have great cause to glory in their Savior.

What reason have we to praise God, who has given us so much cause to glory in Christ Jesus, that we that deserve so much shame should have so much cause to glory!

We were in a forlorn condition:

  • we were depressed to the lowest depths of misery and wretchedness;
  • we were filthy and abominable,
  • we had made ourselves viler than the earth,
  • we deserved nothing but shame and everlasting contempt;
  • we had nothing to glory in, but all the circumstances of our case were such as administered to us just cause of shame and confusion of face (Daniel 9:8).

But God has been pleased to provide One for us

  • to take away our guilt and disgrace,
  • and to be the glory in the midst of us;
  • to put great honor upon us,
  • to be as a covering to hide our nakedness,
  • and not only so, but to adorn us and make us glorious;
  • to be to us wisdom,
  • to bring us from our shameful ignorance and darkness;
  • to be our righteousness for the removal of our guilt
  • and to procure acceptance with God for us;
  • to be our sanctification,
  • to change us from sinful and loathsome to holy and amiable;
  • to be our redemption,
  • to deliver us from all trouble and danger,
  • and to make us happy and blessed forever;
  • to bestow upon us gold tried in the fire, that of poor we might become rich, and that He might exalt us from the dunghill and set us among princes (1 Samuel 2:8).

That God should take us, who were under bondage to sin and Satan, and give us such a glorious victory over our adversaries, and cause us thus to triumph over those that had us captives and were so much stronger than we, and that God gives us so much greater privileges than others, that we should have such a king, is reason enough to praise God.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Glorying in the Savior,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1723–1729, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 14 (Ed. Harry S. Stout and Kenneth P. Minkema (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1997), 14: 468.

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“Let us worship God on earth as He is worshiped in heaven” by Jonathan Gibson

“The story of human history, from beginning to end, is the story of worship. This is because God has so structured His world that every person will worship through one of two men—Adam or Jesus Christ.

The first man Adam was made homo liturgicus, and everyone bearing his image has inherited his fallen liturgical orientation toward idolatry. We are born worshiping the creature, not the Creator; we live our lives seeking salvation and satisfaction in pseudo-redeemers, not the Redeemer.

We are a restless race, wandering ‘east,’ away from the divine sanctuary. But, through the Second Man Jesus Christ, we have the invitation to return and worship God aright in spirit and truth, in His presence.

Through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ—the true Homo Liturgicus—God has opened a way back into His presence.

Since the first son of God, Adam, through the national (typical) son of God, Israel, and the royal (typical) son of God, Solomon, to the final (last-days) Son of God, Jesus, and now the (redeemed) sons of God, the Church—God has been seeking a people to worship Him.

We are called to worship, and our hearts are restless until we respond to that call by faith and obedience, and come and feast on Christ: ‘[W]hoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst’ (John 6:35).

The consummate experience of this truth must await the final day when we will feast on, and with, the glorified Son of God Himself, at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

For now, it is right, fitting, and delightful to worship as God’s redeemed people; then, it will be right, fitting, and delightful to do so as God’s glorified people. It is why worship matters now—because it will matter then, forever.

And so, as we gather each Lord’s Day, between the now and not yet of God’s kingdom, let us worship God for who is He, as one eternal God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and for what He has done in creation and redemption, and for what He will do in the coming consummation.

Let us worship God on earth as He is worshiped in heaven.”

–Jonathan Gibson, “Worship On Earth As It Is In Heaven,” Reformation Worship, Eds. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 20-21.

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“When the Bible runs dry, then I shall” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“He spoke from the pulpit as one earnestly occupied with the souls before him. He made them feel sympathy with what he spoke, for his own eye and heart were on them.

And while his style was singularly clear, this clearness itself was so much the consequence of his being able thoroughly to analyse and explain his subject, that all his hearers alike reaped the benefit.

He went about his public work with awful reverence. So evident was this, that I remember a countryman in my parish observed to me: ‘Before he opened his lips, as he came along the passage, there was something about him that sorely affected me.’

In the vestry there was never any idle conversation; all was preparation of heart in approaching God; and a short prayer preceded his entering the pulpit. Surely in going forth to speak for God, a man may well be overawed.

Surely in putting forth his hand to sow the seed of the kingdom, a man may even tremble! And surely we should aim at nothing less than to pour forth the truth upon our people through the channel of our own living and deeply affected souls.

After announcing the subject of his discourse, he used generally to show the position it occupied in the context, and then proceed to bring out the doctrines of the text, in the manner of our old divines. This done, he divided his subject; and herein he was eminently skilful.

‘The heads of his sermons,’ said a friend, ‘were not the mile-stones that tell you how near you are to your journey’s end, but they were nails which fixed and fastened all he said. Divisions are often dry; but not so his divisions,—they were so textual and so feeling, and they brought out the spirit of a passage so surprisingly.’

It was his wish to arrive nearer at the primitive mode of expounding Scripture in his sermons.

Hence when one asked him, If he was never afraid of running short of sermons some day? he replied, ‘No; I am just an interpreter of Scripture in my sermons; and when the Bible runs dry, then I shall.’

And in the same spirit he carefully avoided the too common mode of accommodating texts,—fastening a doctrine on the words, not drawing it from the obvious connection of the passage.

He endeavoured at all times to preach the mind of the Spirit in a passage; for he feared that to do otherwise would be to grieve the Spirit who had written it.

Interpretation was thus a solemn matter to him. And yet, adhering scrupulously to this sure principle, he felt himself in no way restrained from using, for every day’s necessities, all parts of the Old Testament as much as the New.

His manner was first to ascertain the primary sense and application, and so proceed to handle it for present use. He regarded the prophecies as history yet to be, and drew lessons from them accordingly as he would have done from the past.

Every spiritual gift being in the hands of Jesus, if he found Moses or Paul in the possession of precious things, he forthwith was led to follow them into the presence of that same Lord who gave them all their grace.

There is a wide difference between preaching doctrine and preaching Christ. Mr M‘Cheyne preached all the doctrines of Scripture as understood by our Confession of Faith, dwelling upon ruin by the Fall, and recovery by the Mediator.

‘The things of the human heart, and the things of the Divine Mind,’ were in substance his constant theme. From personal experience of deep temptation, he could lay open the secrets of the heart, so that he once said, ‘He supposed the reason why some of the worst sinners in Dundee had come to hear him was, because his heart exhibited so much likeness to theirs.’

Still it was not doctrine alone that he preached; it was Christ, from whom all doctrine shoots forth as rays from a centre.”

–Robert Murray McCheyne and Andrew A. Bonar, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1894), 71-73.

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“To know God is to live” by Herman Bavinck

“Mystery is the lifeblood of theological reflection. From the start of its labors, dogmatic theology is shrouded in mystery. It stands before God the incomprehensible One.

This knowledge leads to adoration and worship: to know God is to live.

Knowing God is possible for us because God is personal, exalted above the earth and yet in fellowship with human beings on earth. Good theology puts this knowledge of God on public display.

It resists allowing theology to degenerate into rhetoric, a theology merely of words. It seeks the heart of the matter, knowing God in order to worship Him, to love Him, and to serve Him.

Such theology is never a dry and academic exercise. It is eminently practical and superlatively fruitful for life.

The knowledge of God in Christ, after all, is life itself (Psalm 89:16; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34; John 17:3).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Abridged in One Volume, Ed. John Bolt (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011), 147-148.

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“The church’s marriage with the Lamb” by Jonathan Edwards

“Above all, the time of Christ’s last coming is the time of the consummation of the church’s marriage with the Lamb, and the time of the complete and most perfect joy of the wedding.

In that resurrection morning, when the Sun of Righteousness shall appear in our heavens, shining in all His brightness and glory, He will come forth as a bridegroom.

He shall come in the glory of His Father, with all His holy angels. And at that glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ, shall the whole elect church, complete as to every individual member and each member with the whole man, both body and soul, and both in perfect glory, ascend up to meet the Lord in the air, to be thenceforth forever with the Lord.

That will be a joyful meeting of this glorious bridegroom and bride indeed. Then the bridegroom will appear in all His glory without any veil.

And then the saints shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, and at the right hand of their Redeemer and then the church will appear as the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

’Tis the state of the church after the resurrection, that is spoken of, Rev. 21:2, ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband.’ And v. 9, ‘Come hither; I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’

Then will come the time, when Christ will sweetly invite His spouse to enter in with Him into the palace of His glory, which He had been preparing for her from the foundation of the world, and shall as it were take her by the hand, and lead her in with Him.

And this glorious bridegroom and bride shall with all their shining ornaments, ascend up together into the heaven of heaven, the whole multitude of glorious angels waiting upon them.

And this Son and daughter of God shall, in their united glory and joy, present themselves together before the Father.

When Christ shall say, ‘Here am I, and the children which Thou has given Me,’ and they both shall in that relation and union, together receive the Father’s blessing, and shall thenceforward rejoice together, in consummate, uninterrupted, immutable, and everlasting glory, in the love and embraces of each other, and joint enjoyment of the love of the Father.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 25; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 25: 183–184.

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“Gloria Patri” by Fred Sanders

“Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost! As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

The glory of God is from everlasting to everlasting, but while the praise of the Trinity will have no end, it had a beginning.

There was never a time when God was not glorious as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit. But there was a time when that singular glory had not yet disclosed itself so as to invite creatures to its praise.

To join in the ancient Christian prayer called the Gloria Patri, directing praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is to come into alignment here in the world ‘as it is now’ with triune glory ‘as it was in the beginning.’

All theology ought to be doxology, but Trinitarian theology in particular is essentially a matter of praising God. This doxological response is the praise of glory (ἔπαινον δόξης, Eph 1:6, 12, 14) that always was, and whose epiphany in time entails its antecedent depth in eternity.

Those whom God has blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ are summoned to join that praise: ‘Blessed be God the Father, who has blessed us in the Beloved and sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise’ (Eph 1:3-14, condensed).”

–Fred Sanders, The Triune God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016), 25.

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“Athanasius announced the singing of Psalm 136” by James Montgomery Boice

“The word that is used for ‘love’ in this refrain is the powerful Hebrew term hesed, which means ‘covenant love’ or the favor God shows to those with whom He has entered into a covenant relationship. Sometimes it is translated ‘steadfast (or ‘enduring’) love.’ It is enduring because God is a God of His word. He is forever good, and He does not break His covenant.

One night in February 358 A.D. the church father Athanasius held an all-night service at his church in Alexandria, Egypt. He had been leading the fight for the eternal sonship and deity of Jesus Christ, knowing that the survival of Christianity depended on it. He had many enemies—for political even more than theological reasons—and they moved the power of the Roman government against him. That night the church was surrounded by soldiers with drawn swords. People were frightened.

With calm presence of mind Athanasius announced the singing of Psalm 136. The vast congregation responded, thundering forth twenty-six times, ‘His love endures forever.’ When the soldiers burst through the doors they were staggered by the singing. Athanasius kept his place until the congregation was dispersed. Then he too disappeared in the darkness and found refuge with his friends.

Many citizens of Alexandria were killed that night, but the people of Athanasius’s congregation never forgot that although man is evil, God is good. He is superlatively good, and ‘His love endures forever.'”

–James Montgomery Boice, Psalms: An Expositional Commentary, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998), 3: 1185. Boice is commenting on Psalm 136.

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